When it comes to family law issues like divorce and custody, the stakes are high, and you want to have the best possible representation. But how do you know if you’ve found the champion who will see you through this difficult situation? It’s important to interview your attorney, and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask tough questions, assess your rapport and make sure you are making the right choice. Here are three issues to make sure you discuss in your initial consultation.
A newly hatched lawyer may be enthusiastic, but you don’t want to work with an attorney who might miss an important facet of your case because it’s all new. Similarly, while your cousin’s neighbor may be an excellent real estate attorney, the nuances of family law take years to understand, and they are quite different from a commercial lease. Finally, location matters: each jurisdiction has its own rules, and each judge (and their staff) has their own style that take years to learn. Ask your prospective attorney the following:
- How many years have you been practicing law?
- How much of your practice is in the area of family law?
- Have you appeared before the judge who is hearing my case?
A Good Counselor
Family law matters are difficult, emotional and potentially expensive. Every step of the way, there are important strategic considerations that require you to make decisions that can impact the outcome of the case. Your attorney needs to be a resource and a guide to understand the implications of your particular situation. They need to ask the right questions and help you to drill down on the relevant facts and circumstances. A good lawyer will offer you alternatives, help you understand possible outcomes and explain the cost and risk associated with each direction you could take. As part of their advice, the lawyer should be prepared to support your needs by helping you find financial and mental health professionals who might be needed in your situation. Assess the lawyer’s counseling skills by asking:
- What is your intake process?
- How will you decide the strategy for the case?
- Do you have referrals to other experts that I might need during this process?
A Fierce Advocate
There are many ways to win a family law case, and you want to have a lawyer who will get you across the finish line. In court, you need an experienced litigator who knows had to ask the tough questions and present your case in the strongest light. In negotiations, you need strong-willed, convincing representation to make sure your bottom line is met. What’s more, you need a lawyer who is skilled in other forms of conflict resolution so that your interests are met in situations like a mediation. To make sure your attorney is able to zealously represent your interests whatever the context, ask:
- How many trials have you had and what were the outcomes?
- What is your approach to negotiating a settlement?
- Do you have Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) experience, and what is it?
The Right Fit.
Not all lawyers are the same, and you want to work with someone who’s style meshes well with your personality and your needs. Experienced, quality attorneys know how to adjust their approach to suit you as an individual, but you shouldn’t take it for granted that you will see eye to eye without making sure to ask:
- What is your approach to working with a client?
Lloyd Malech has been practicing law for over 25 years, and he focuses exclusively on Family Law. He has been recognized by his peers, his clients and local and national organizations for his excellence in his field. In 2021 alone he has been the recipient of awards such as 10 Best Attorneys for exceptional and outstanding client service/Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Family Law and the New York Times 2021 Power Layers. His practice is located in Bethesda, Maryland, where he provides superlative representation to his clients in Washington, DC, and Maryland. He has recently been honored to participate in Bethesda Magazine’s 2022 Best in Bethesda reader’s poll. To inquire about working with Mr. Malech on your family law matter please visit our website or call (202) 441-2107.